Sunday, 30 March 2014

Crimson and Clovers: A St. Patrick's Day Adventure in Dublin

Crimson and Clovers:
A St. Patrick's Day Adventure 
in Dublin, Ireland

As I step foot out of the massive flying contraption that landed me onto this beautiful island, I take a deep breath and soak in the fresh Irish air. Butterflies flutter inside my stomach when I think of how much excitement this week has in store for me. All those years of dreaming and now I am finally here in the glorious land of luck and leprechauns! Nobody pinch me.

I carefully walk down the steps of the aircraft and shuffle behind the other passengers as we make our way to customs. Even though I try to keep a calm and cool composure, I can't help but feel my lips curling up into a smile and the rush of euphoria at a new adventure! After months of sitting static in Scotland, I am finally breaking through those chains and embracing freedom *sigh* it is such a relief to be somewhere new.

I practically float through customs, showing the Irish officers my passport. "Welcome to Ireland!", the man says to me with a sparkle in his eye. "Have a Lovely St. Patty's Day Weekend." My conservative, one-sided smile (one that I use to appear professional and friendly in certain circumstances like airport security) falters for a second as I am slightly taken back by the gracious attitude. After a moments hesitation, I quickly right myself up and flash him my pearly whites. Of course! I think to myself abashedly. How could I even question the famous Irish hospitality? I think I am going to like it here!

I hop on the Airlink bus heading towards the city centre and take a seat at the very back near the window. Placing my knapsack tightly between my feet I delve into my coat pockets to retrieve my earbuds and place them into my ears. Scrolling through my playlists I search for the perfect song to start off my journey. Mentally kicking myself for not having of made a playlist already for this trip (a total amateur mistake), I have to resort to my library of songs. Thank goodness I have such an eclectic taste as there is always a song to fit my mood.

After debating between the relaxing and chill tunes of Rudimental's Home Album (always a perfect choice for any trip) and the brilliant works of the Who (of which I am most partial to), I come to a standstill. While both were perfectly sound choices, I opted instead for a little Chuck Berry because while I'm not in Louisiana, I'm still feeling pretty Johnny B Good right now. As the first couple of cords ring through my ear, I sit back, pop my shades on and enjoy the journey. Hello Dublin! Jocelyn has arrived. 

It's not too long before Chuck's smooth vocals are interrupted by a commotion and I open my eyes to an elderly couple sitting directly across from me. They are arguing about the lack of comfort offered from the seats of the bus. The lady adamantly tries to cause a scene while the man is cowering his red-faced embarrassment in his hands.

My internal cynic starts working in overdrive: Are you seriously upset about the bus seats? Where do you think you are lady?! You are on a bloody bus for christsake not a 5 star chauffeured limo. Pull your 5 cent bump-it quiff out of your arse and smell the daisies! My Goodness, some people...

I roll my eyes behind my shades and start to turn up the volume on my iPod when all of a sudden I catch a slight movement out of the corner of my eye. The Lady thought it would be perfectly okay to put her 50lb duffle bag (something made out of fabric found in goodwill curtains) on the seat next to me instead of on the luggage rack. And if this didn't tick me off enough she then declares, quite loudly if I must say, "Some people are so rude and cannot respect the elderly. How am I supposed to move my arthritis-ridden feet when I have this bag in the way?" She says it with a jab and I feel her eyes directed at me. I look down at my feet and see a good 3ft distance between my bag and her feet. My eyebrows furrow and I go back to listening to my music intent on ignoring her pettiness. No way is some lady going to ruin my trip! Hell no. 

Drawing my attention back to my music I note that Chuck's voice has faded into Ian Browns and I fall right back into the lyrics.
Your knuckles whiten on the wheel
The last thing that your hands will feel
Your final flight can't be delay-

"Excuse me?" I am interrupted once again and start a bit in my seat out of surprise when a slight southern drawl catches my ear. Ah, American. Now, I am not one to stereotype but woman you are not helping the case. Okay I know it's incredibly childish but my imagination decides to work on overdrive. Next thing I know it I'm picturing a giant bucket of KFC chicken in her hands and a thick handlebar moustache on her face. With this absurd image burned into my brain I can't help stifle the snicker that escapes my lips. I feel her eyes narrow at me and shoot daggers into my lens. A crippling feeling starts to build within me and the urge to fight rises to my throat, but I chide my petty thoughts aside and decide instead to concede. There really isn't any point is there? I lift up my knapsack and rest it onto my lap while the lady breathes a satisfied *huff*. Oh boy, what a great start to the week!

In amidst this juvenile feud I now notice that I have missed my stop. Absolutely fantastic! I pull out my phone and text Corin (my couchsurfing host) this information and she informs me that I can easily get off at the train station and take the tram back to Connelly. As the bus pulls up to Heuston Station, the last stop, I quietly pick up my bags and without a second glance at the immature lady and her poor husband, I make my way off the bus. I say a polite Cheers! to the bus driver and he gives me a knowing wink and nods his head in the direction of the back of the bus. I laugh and smile at him in return. Well, at least some people can understand my pain.

The tram station is located directly across from the rail station so I don't have to walk very far which is good because I am now in no mood to navigate myself, and god knows what I will do if I happen to run into the couple again. I purchase my ticket and sit down on the bench next to the timetables. It's only a 5 minute wait for the next tram so I pull out my iPod and turn the music to Sweet Child of Mine. Guns n' Roses always pumps me up when I am feeling out of sorts so I knew I could definitely count on it to pull me out of my bad mood.

When I reach Connelly station twenty minutes later, I look around for Corin. I must look like a complete nutter because I have no idea where to go. Thankfully I see a girl walking up to me with bright red hair that frames her face like a lion's mane and I am sure it is her. Not wanting to be wrong though, I wait until she waves in my direction and breathe a sigh of relief.

We take the Dart (Irish interrail) to her house in Blackrock but before we stop by her place we head over to a restaurant for a bite to eat because I was starving. I had eaten earlier in the morning before I left for the airport since the student union was open for breakfast and I just couldn't resist. I mean really? They make these awesome breakfast rolls with eggs and bacon that literally melt in your mouth. Pair that with a glass of freshly squeezed orange juice (or in my case, concentrate...) and I am set! Unfortunately I have a stomach of a growing prepubescent boy so it usually doesn't last me long until I am famished once again. Since I left the airport and went straight on the bus ride from hell to meet Corin, I hadn't had time to eat any lunch so you can bet I was starving come dinner time.

She took me to a place called Johnny Rockets (of which I recently found out is actually a popular
American restaurant franchise but since I have never been there I disregard that knowledge). It was an adorable diner-style restaurant that had a 60's soda pop vibe to it. I absolutely adored it. We ordered these amazing Oreo Milkshakes and they tasted like heaven in a cup. I think I have reached Nirvana. They were that good!

After we finished up our meal we headed over to her place and well...this is where things got a little complicated.

As we walked up the steps to her place my heart raced in anticipation. She had told me that she lives with a couple of guy roommates so obviously the first thought that runs through my brain is: I hope they are hot. I mean c'mon! I am only human! She said that one of the guys...lets call him Bob for anonymity (but in all honesty, I actually don't remember his name), had recently gotten surgery and was a bit apprehensive about me staying at their place for a couple of days as he wanted to be able to walk around in pj's (like I would really care) and there was also the matter of me being a relative stranger (of which I can totally understand to some extent). So I was ready to dazzle them with my Canadian kindness and sweep them off their feet, but nothing prepared me for what happened next.

As Corin opened the door we are greeted to a guy wearing a neck brace and looking ever so slightly worse for wear. He is staring directly at the feet and refuses to make eye contact with either one of us so I can only assume that he was feeling a bit embarrassed. Without looking up he says to Corin, "You didn't get my message" (a comment that should have been a question came out as a statement. As if he was so bloody sure of himself). He then goes on to moan about his surgery and how he is in pain and licking his wounds like the little - okay I am getting agitated just thinking about him.

Basically Corin takes him aside and discusses matter privately in the other room while I wait around awkwardly trying to make conversation with the other two guys in the room. They, unlike Bob, seemed pretty normal and not at all agitated that I was there. Seriously, I have no idea what was up with the guy! Someone pissed in his cheerios.

While Corin was still talking with Bob I put my bag in her room and then went to the bathroom to freshen up. Fifteen minutes later Corin comes back and she takes me aside in her room. She seemed ruffled about something so I can only imagine what Bob had said to her. I thought maybe he wasn't feeling well or something happened...but what I didn't expect was what she said next: "So apparently you can't stay here." My jaw literally drops. I am completely and utterly speechless.

"I know." Corin says red-faced with embarrassment. "Oh my god, I am so sorry. I have no idea what to do! He is just being completely unreasonable."

I am still in shock from the whole situation so it took a while for me to formulate an adequate response to the matter...and a couple pints of course. Which is why we grabbed our stuff, said our goodbyes (of which Bob was sitting nice and pretty in his room, nowhere to be seen of course) and headed to the pub. I felt so bad that Corin had to deal with that nutter as a roommate! If he was my roommate I would have beat his scrawny arse for talking to a person like that, let alone a lady! Oh I had some words to say to him but I kept my mouth shut because Corin was in a bit of a tight situation.

See she only recently moved in to the place a couple of weeks ago and she pays rent to Bob (the freak of nature). But Bob isn't the landlord exactly, he sublets the place and pays the rent to the landlord. She also never signed any rent agreement or contract (big mistake!) and so she was in a relatively awkward situation as she didn't want to get kicked out herself.

I felt so bad for her but it also left me in a bit of a predicament..I was now in desperate need of a place to sleep for the rest of the week and it being one of the busiest week/weekends, finding a place that was cheap, let alone available, was next to impossible. But Corin, who felt really upset and embarrassed for the scene that her roommate caused payed for me to stay in a hostel out of her own pocket! I had no idea she did this until we got to the hostel and while I definitely appreciated it, I never expected her to do something like that. Goes to show you how many awesome people you can meet travelling!

The next few days were much better. I met a fellow Canadian girl at my hostel and we went out for dinner at this place called the Bison Bar near Temple Bar. We were recommended this place by the hostel receptionist and were told that they marinate their meat for 15 hours each day so when it's gone, it's gone. The restaurant was very busy but it had an awesome rustic, western vibe. Luckily we found an empty table and then went to the bar to order our food.

I ordered the half rack of ribs, onion rings, potato salad and an iced cold pint of Carlsberg. I know what you're thinking, it's Ireland! I should be drinking Guinness. But honestly, guinness is not my drink. I had a pint while I was here but I am not a fan of stout, as I prefer to stick with my lagers.

Okay the ribs though, were godsend! They were so juicy and tender, and the meat literally fell right off the bone! I will have dreams about these ribs for the rest of my life, they were that good!

On Friday I went exploring throughout the city. A friend of mine recommended the Abbey but unfortunately it was closed until June, so instead I went to the National Gallery as it was free and I love art. There was some really nice artwork at the gallery; a bit of Picasso, a few Monet and more than a couple Rembrandt...but the gallery was a lot smaller than I thought it would be. After going to the Rijksmuseum in Amsterdam I guess my expectations were a little high but I thought it would be slightly more than 1-2 levels...I was wrong. But it was still a pleasant experience!

I had gotten through the entire gallery in under an hour and still had a lot of time to kill so I went to a nearby bakery and grabbed a quick lunch. Then I went back to my hostel, took a short nap and decided to head over to Temple Bar to join in on the festivities.

Even though it was still only 6:30pm people were out celebrating! It was lovely to see everyone in green, chugging pints of beer and singing (really bad) renditions of Chelsea Dagger (not an Irish song in any sense but you can't really blame them as they were all foreign). I even joined in on a few beer funnelling shenanigans...yes in the middle of the street! Gotta love the Irish! :)

No comments:

Post a Comment

Leave Some Love or Feedback!